Music awards hit controversial note with Ortel entry
One of the Czech Republic’s biggest music awards – the annual Český Slavík or Czech Nightingale competition, voted on by members of the public – looks like it has become embroiled in a controversy over immigration. According to the preliminary poll results, the highly controversial band Ortel is currently the front-runner in the race to be the most popular band.
The highly controversial band, whose hateful lyrics primarily target religious and ethnic minorities, is currently riding high on anti-immigrant sentiments. Last year, the largely unknown band from Plzeň jumped from 105th spot to fourth place in the same Český Slavík competition.
The founder of Ortel, who calls himself Tomáš Ortel, is also the founder of the neo-Nazi band Conflict 88, and Ortel’s song "Hadr" or "Rag" was once the anthem of the neo-Nazi Workers' Party prior to its forced dissolution on the demand of a Czech court in 2010. But for the organisers of the Český Slavík Awards, these facts are not sufficient reasons in themselves for excluding the band from the competition. Jiří Těšínský is the spokesman for the organizer:
“Český Slavík is not a competition. It is a public poll. And according to the rules, anyone can send their votes to any entrant they chose. So that means that we haven’t nominated anyone. We have a rule that we do not comment on any entrant or band until the voting is over. It would be unfair.”
“After the voting ends, we will evaluate whether it was in line with the regulations, whether there wasn’t any organised voting for instance, and we will also examine whether the singers’ texts and other expressions don’t infringe the law. So we will definitely do this after the voting ends and we might intervene if it’s appropriate.”
The Český slavík awards, originally known as Zlatý slavík, have been running since 1962. This year’s winners will be announced at a ceremony in the State Opera House on November 28.